PMO intervenes, seeks common skills framework

New Delhi, Feb. 10 -- Two frameworks for one mission - skill qualification certification - has flabbergasted the Prime Minister's Office which has asked the respective ministries, HRD and labour, to come out with a common document for the same.

The HRD ministry had already taken Cabinet's approval for National Vocational Education Qualification Framework stipulating certification for different levels of education depending on the skill up-gradation.

For a two-year programme, one could get secondary degree and for five years, a graduation level certification with a flexibility to enter and exit the programme for small periods. The All India Council for Technical Education was asked to implement the framework in collaboration with the industry.

The ministry of labour also circulated its own National Vocational Qualification Framework for approval which primarily focuses on training the school dropouts for the labour intensive market. The ministry's framework was also approved by an inter-ministerial group and was ready for Cabinet approval when the PMO intervened.

"The PMO believed that the HRD ministry's framework was the only one but was surprised to see the second one," a senior government official said, adding that the two ministries were not willing to recede from their turfs even a bit.

As a result, an inter-ministerial committee was formed to harmonise the two frameworks and suggest a National Skills Qualification Framework (NSDF).

To prevent any more wrangling between the two ministries, the government has decided that the Cabinet note on the new framework would be prepared by advisor to Prime Minister on skill development S Ramadorai and piloted by the Planning Commission, whose deputy chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia also heads NSDC.

"The Cabinet's approval for the new framework would soon be sought," an official said.

Such turf wars and state governments not fully coming on board were said to be a reason for the Centre's skill development mission not taking off in five years since its inception.

Just one-fifth of the target for providing skills to the youth in 2012-13 would be met. The placement of trainees from NSDC recognised centres are on the decline. In north-east, where the Youth Affairs ministry launched skill training programme, the placement has been bare minimum with trainees not willing to work outside the region, officials said.

Another shortcoming of the programme highlighted at a recent meeting in Planning Commission was stress on number of trainees rather than the quality of training. Also, the training is not based on job demand surveys in the region resulting in declining placement.

The Planning Commission wants to revamp the council by turning into an authority.

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.

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